A virtual team is a group of individuals who work together remotely from different locations and use electronic means of communication to collaborate. Compared to traditional teams, virtual teams experience a larger number of challenges, and being their member requires from an individual an increased focus on communication, collaboration, and cultural issues (“Virtual teams vs. traditional teams,” n.d.). In the modern shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability of a leader to build an effective virtual team and of individuals to work in such an environment are becoming increasingly important.
The key factors that make a virtual team successful are its organizational structure, leadership style, knowledge exchange and decision-making, relationship building, and effective communication. It is recommended for the team manager to create a team charter describing how the team should work together. It needs to specify technologies, standard formats and etiquette for written communications, plans how to keep everyone in sync, and expected response times (Hill & Bartol, 2018). A team charter is an effective tool for solving many of the problems that can be encountered by the team.
Other methods are peer evaluation and setting expectations, which encourage team members to focus on best practices by holding one another accountable for the results in team projects (Hill & Bartol, 2018). Furthermore, to resolve conflicts, the leader needs to be able to prevent task-related disagreements from devolving into interpersonal angst (“Managing conflict in virtual teams,” n.d.). This is particularly important in multicultural teams, where members of different nations find it especially difficult to collaborate with each other. The more diverse the team is, the more effective management and communication are required.
Hill, S. N., & Bartol, K. M. (2018). Five ways to improve communication in virtual teams. MITSIoan Management Review, 60(1).
Managing conflict in virtual teams. (n.d.). Management Study Guide. Web.
Virtual teams vs. traditional teams. (n.d.). Management Study Guide. Web.